For most of us, we're at week 18 of this global health battle. It feels like it's been forever.
We likely initially panicked, then furloughed/laid off people. We scrubbed everything in sight. Some of got a mask. Some of us didn't. We cut back, slimmed down, or maybe even staffed up. My wife works for an EdTech firm, deploying distance learning software solutions for K-12. She can barely keep up.
We adapted to the market conditions, through expansion, contraction, or some other word created by necessity, the need for some of us to literally survive.
Shutowns, lockdowns, inside, outside, six feet of this and that. In California, we have been through multiple iterations of locking this and shutting that. It's been very frustrating, and some Californians are taking their rage out on Governor Gavin Newsom. We're certain he's getting no joy from the moving goalposts, but as of the time of this writing we're looking at more than 11,000 new cases each day. We're a hot zone, especially in Los Angeles County.
Businesses are scrambling, spending precious capital to adapt, and hoping for some stability. The one thing we don't have much of are things reliable and expected and constant. Not just in my home state but across the country, in your county and town.
You made changes to your customer approach, your business model, and perhaps even your technology. One thing I noticed right away - the touchless menu. My friends own a restaurant. They didn't want to deal with menus and all those hands on them, so they employ a QR code a diner scans when they arrive. Up comes the menu and drinks/wine. A masked server takes our order, then delivers our meal to the table. We pay through an app and we're out. The restaurant has a safe flow, proper spacing too. We feel safe there and of course we want to support them and other local small businesses.
Technology has helped the owners collect data, see trends, and adapt. I doubt they'll go back to the printed menu. What was once a crisis adlib is now likely permanent policy.
We wonder what changes you have made in your business have now become seemingly normal. We know commercial office leasing companies are furiously trying to figure out what they are going to do with all those empty cubicles, now that we have strong evidence that many of us do a great job doing our jobs at home. This is likely signaling a major shift in decisions a lot of companies make regarding "the office."
We've learned we really don't need to fly anywhere to have a meeting. It's hard to imagine right now what airlines are going to do to adapt. Zoom has zoomed, trading in the 200+ dollar-per-share range, up from 75 dollars and change in Q1 of this year, security issues be damned.
24 Hour Fitness was devastated by the lockdowns. They're bankrupt.
With every story of distress, we're reminded that folks who make vodka now also make hand sanitizer. Ford shifted from all cars to make ventilators. Fashion houses are selling fancy masks. The plexiglass industry certainly doesn't appear to be hurting, now that we have found a new use for their product (the spit shield). And the "six feet apart" sticker companies, same thing.
You understand the need for adaptation in running a business. Staying nimble means staying on top of what's happening in the marketplace. A reordering of priorities is happening. A shuffling of processes is underway. Try and look at the whole chess board (even if you don't play)! See as much as you can. You'll make much smarter moves that way.